Tag Archives: writers

Episode 993: All I Know Is Danger

“You must try to expect nothing from me!”

Angelique Collins was murdered. We all agree on that, right? Stroke, no; murder, yes.

It’s not our Angelique, of course. I’m talking about the Parallel Time alt-universe Angelique, who was murdered six months ago, at a midnight seance in the drawing room. We know that she was murdered, because last week, they re-enacted the seance, and a ghost-possessed dental hygienist pointed at Angelique’s identical twin and shouted, She’s dying, she’s dying, murder, murder, murder. Apparently the spirit speaking through her was re-enacting too.

The other reason that we know Angelique was murdered is because of course she was murdered, this is a television show and they’ve been talking incessantly about her death for weeks. ABC Television isn’t funding this daily blastoff into the uncharted regions of tormented space just to tell the story of a woman who happened to die of a stroke.

After the seance, everybody did what people do in Collinwood after an accusation of murder; they went about their normal activities. If the Collins family stopped to investigate every single mysterious death that happens on their property, life as we know it would grind to a halt. When somebody dies, that means there’s one fewer person in the cast to have conversations with, and the survivors have even more on their plates.

So Quentin and Alexis have been going on as usual, grooming houseplants and making up excuses for things. In this version of reality, Quentin used to be Angelique’s husband, until she was murdered, and Alexis used to be her twin sister, until ditto, unless it turns out that Alexis actually is Angelique, back from the dead to reclaim her rightful place at Collinwood, which would mean that everybody needs to update their entries on Dark Shadows Wiki.

Continue reading Episode 993: All I Know Is Danger

Episode 985: The Cassandra Complex

“Twins usually do resemble each other, or haven’t you heard?”

Except it’s not Angelique, obviously. How could it be? She’s dead, probably.

Although Angeliques do have a habit of making post-mortem comebacks; they’re a tenacious people. It doesn’t matter how often you strangle them, exorcise them, shoot them in the shoulder, set them on fire, burn their portraits, or dump buckets of water over them and dissolve them into a well-dressed puddle. They always return, with fresh schemes. What a world, what a world!

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Episode 833: 3D Printing – The Early Years

“I’m accusing you of painting a portrait of a wolf!”

“Things don’t always have to have explanations,” says Mr. Tate, and that might as well be Dark Shadows’ mission statement. “You don’t have to know about everything in the universe. Things just happen, it could be one of those things that –”

And then he’s cut off, by someone threatening to kill him. That happens a lot in 1969, when people start babbling about the universe.

Continue reading Episode 833: 3D Printing – The Early Years

Episode 830: The Book I Wrote

“There may be only one way of preventing tonight from happening.”

Last cliffhanger, Charity had a vision of Quentin’s death (stabbed or something — lots of blood on his chest). At beginning of this episode, she is wandering in the woods. Magda finds her and Charity says Quentin will die in 12 days — September 10. Reverend Trask comes home and finds that while Edward + Jameson have been cured, Charity is still possessed. She says she’ll kill anyone who comes between her and Quentin. Trask asks Magda to watch Charity. Quentin realizes there’s a full moon that night and he tells Magda he’s going to stop the change.

Or, at least, that’s what happens in today’s episode according to the original version of Dark Shadows Every Day, which I started in a school notebook when I was fifteen. I might have chosen my words more carefully if I’d known that I was going to show it to people thirty years later. Also, I apparently didn’t know how to spell Jamison.

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Episode 791: Sign the Paper

“No, Judith — you’re not mad, you’re just… burdened.”

Reverend Trask is comforting his distressed wife. “Now, Evan here has a paper that will lift a great deal of that burden from you, as soon as you sign it.”

But Judith is too upset to focus. “I can’t read anything right now!”

“There’s no need to read it, Judith,” her husband explains. “Just sign it.”

She says that she needs to talk to her brother Edward first, but the Reverend and his lawyer-accomplice shake their heads. Edward, they say, is dead. He’s not, actually — at least, he looked okay, the last time I saw him — but Trask and Evan seem pretty sure about it.

“Why can’t I remember?” Judith cries. “What’s happening? Everything is going to pieces, I want it to stop!”

“Judith, it will stop,” Trask says, “when you sign the paper.”

“Sign the paper,” Evan agrees.

Judith turns to look at Trask’s dead wife Minerva, who’s just sitting there, glaring at her with undisguised loathing.

“She keeps staring at me,” Judith mutters. “She’s watching me, and waiting. What is she waiting for?”

Trask insists, “Judith, sign the paper. That is the only way I can make you stop seeing this phantom that doesn’t exist!” He picks up the pen, and puts it into her hand. “Sign the paper, Judith. Sign the paper!”

Now, I don’t want to jump to any conclusions, but I’m starting to get the feeling that they want Judith to sign the paper. This has all the earmarks of being one of those sign-the-paper parties.

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Episode 723: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Vampires

“Now, I want you to stay here, and look after the ladies, take them upstairs, and lock yourself in a room.”

Well, it’s true what they say, you can’t keep a good man down. Handsome rascal Quentin Collins has been stabbed in the chest, in the cottage, and in the prime of life, and that’s three strikes. We watched him bleed out on the carpet, and he’s currently the featured attraction at a swinging wake in the drawing room.

But dark sorcery has brought him back to life, sort of, by which I mean he’s lurching around with a glazed expression on his face. It’s not much of a life, more mannequin than man. Let’s say “life” with air quotes.

Barnabas is in this episode too, and he’s a vampire, so that makes two dead characters out of five today. Although I suppose from the point of view of the 1969 audience, everyone in the 1897 storyline is dead.

Actually, when you really sit down and think about it, we’re all dead — just a pack of not-yet-rotting corpses, advancing inexorably to the grave. That’s why I try not to really sit down and think about it.

Continue reading Episode 723: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Vampires

Episode 717: Mommy Weirdest

“They’re dolls! Plain ordinary breakable dolls! She has dozens of them, and can’t tell the difference between them.”

Mad Jenny Collins is loose in the haunted corridors of ABC daytime television, eyeliner askew and ready for adventure. She’s been locked up in the tower room for god knows how long, and from the looks of her, it hasn’t been a soothing experience.

She keeps breaking out of her cell and setting fire to people’s bedrooms, which isn’t a productive use of her time, and at the moment she’s got hold of a pair of scissors that must be left over from the Jurassic era. You know how they tell you not to run with scissors? You shouldn’t even walk with these. That’s a pair of scissors where you close the door and turn the lights off and hope it goes away.

It’s not easy to explain just how insane this situation is, so let’s see how Charlotte Brontë described it, in Chapter 20 of Jane Eyre:

What crime was this that lived incarnate in this sequestered mansion, and could neither be expelled nor subdued by the owner? — what mystery, that broke out now in fire and now in blood, at the deadest hours of night? What creature was it, that, masked in an ordinary woman’s face and shape, uttered the voice, now of a mocking demon, and anon of a carrion-seeking bird of prey?

Well, I mean. You have to give it up to Charlotte B for that. I can’t speak for anybody else, but in my opinion I think she nailed it.

Continue reading Episode 717: Mommy Weirdest

Extra: An Interview with Violet Welles

“There were infinite possibilities in infinite combinations.”

Monday’s episode was the first credited to Violet Welles, one of the best writers on Dark Shadows, and one of the most mysterious. She was a theatrical press agent, working on a varied slate of Broadway and Off-Broadway shows. She also wrote for several television shows, but almost always as a ghost-writer; Dark Shadows is her only credited work as a writer, and she had to be talked into becoming a full-time writer on the show.

There are several websites that list Violet’s credits as a press rep — Playbill Vault, Internet Broadway Database and the Internet Off-Broadway Database — but almost nothing is known about her television work.

Happily, there’s a fan resource to the rescue: The World of Dark Shadows, the flagship DS fanzine which ran from 1975 to 2001. Issue #59/60, published in June 1991, ran a four-page interview with Violet Welles, giving us a rare glimpse into the day-to-day experience of the Dark Shadows writing team. The interview is fantastic, and I’m going to post it here in its entirety. It was conducted by Meghan Powell-Nivling, who I have not contacted for permission, so I hope nobody minds. Here’s Violet.

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Episode 711: Let’s Twist Again

“We’re all on the same side, aren’t we? My side.”

I address myself and those here with me to the powers of darkness, he said.

I call upon the flame to summon you, he said.

I call upon the raven and the viper and all the dark creatures of nature to draw you like a rising mist from out of the darkness of the earth, he said.

And he said it over an active hellmouth that spews out vengeance-vowing fire demons on the regular. What could possibly go wrong?

Continue reading Episode 711: Let’s Twist Again